Engine producer Rapp Motorenwerke became the Bayerische Motoren Werke in 1917. It then merged with aircraft company Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke in 1922. They transitioned supplying engines to building complete motorcycles in 1923, while car production started in 1928.
The BMW Group keeps its structure fairly simple. It owns:
BMW Motorrad, motorcycle brand
Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) was founded in 1899. In 1926, it merged with Benz & Cie. to become Daimler-Benz AG.
The better known Mercedes brand name dates back to 1900. Daimler dealer, Emil Jellinek, raced the company’s models under the name Mercedes, in reference to his daughter’s name. Competition success led to Mercedes appearing on the radiators of Daimler road cars in 1902.
Daimler AG has its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
The company has quite a complicated corporate structure. Daimler owns:
Bharatbenz from India
Li Shufu founded Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 1986, and it created Geely Automobile in 1997. Despite being a relatively new firm, the company has major automotive holdings.
The company has its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang
Zhejiang Geely controls:
London EV Company (formerly London Taxi Company)
Lynk & Co
Yuan Cheng Auto, a commercial vehicle company.
Terrafugia, a flying car company
*While not complete ownership, a recent investment makes Geely the single largest shareholder in Volvo AB, the commercial truck maker responsible for the Volvo and Renault Trucks brands.
William C. Durant, the owner of Buick at the time, founded General Motors as a holding company for automotive brands in 1908. Soon after, it acquired other automakers like Oldsmobile and Cadillac.
General Motors has its headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.
Once the owner of many well known U.S. brands, the company’s bankruptcy in 2009 resulted in the closing of brands like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer. General Motors now controls:
Autobaojun, a car maker in China
Holden for the Australian market
Jiefang, China-based commercial vehicle company
Wuling, an automaker in China
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Italy’s Fiat and America’s Chrysler officially completed their merger to become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in October 2014. This process began in 2011 when Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy with Fiat as a partial owner. The Italian firm slowly bought more shares until its ownership was complete.
Fiat started life as Società Anonima Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino – F.I.A.T. – in 1899.
Walter Chrysler had an extensive history in the auto industry even before the founding of the Chrysler Motor Corporation in 1925.
Technically, FCA has its corporate headquarters in London, England. However, far more of the actual work gets done at the main Chrysler office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and major Fiat location in Turin, Italy.
*Ferrari also has a tentative relationship under this umbrella. Financially, it’s a completely separate entity. However, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne runs the Prancing Horse, and the Angelli/Elkann family, which controls roughly a third of FCA stock, also has a significant holding in Ferrari.
Ford Motor Company
Henry Ford co-founded the Ford Motor Company with investors in 1903, and the business created a true “people’s car” in 1908 with the introduction of the Model T. It built around 15 million of them through 1927.
Ford has its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
While it once controlled brands like Aston Martin and Volvo,Ford Motor Company’s current structure is rather simple. It controls:
Honda Motor Company
Sochiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa founded the Honda Motor Company in 1948 and began selling its first motorcycle in 1949; prior to that the firm built clip-on engines for attaching to bicycles. The company entered the auto business with the tiny T360 truck in August 1963 and S500 sports car a couple months later in October.
The business has its headquarters in the Minato ward of Tokyo, Japan.
The Honda Motor Company controls:
Honda Powersports, which comprises the company’s motorcycle, ATVs, watercraft, and other forms of transport.
Hyundai Motor Company
Hyundai started as a construction company in 1947 but expanded quickly and entered the auto business in 1967. The firm initially built a version of the Ford Cortina under license and introduced its own car, the Pony in 1976.
Kia started in 1944 as Kyungsung Precision Industry, a firm specializing in making bicycle parts. The company’s name became Kia in 1952, and it entered the auto market in 1962 by building the K-360 under license. It was a small, three-wheeled Mazda truck.
Kia went bankrupt in 1997 and merged with Hyundai in 1998.
The Hyundai Motor Company owns:
PSA Group formed in 1976 with the merger of Peugeot and Citroên. Originally known as PSA Peugeot Citroën, the company changed its name to PSA Group in 2016. In March 2017, the firm also acquired Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors for $2.3 billion.
The company has its headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison, France, a suburb of Paris.
PSA Group controls:
Renault-Nissan acquired Mitsubishi in a $2.3 billion deal in October 2016. Renault and Nissan formed their alliance much earlier on March 27, 1999.
The combined companies don’t have a centralized headquarters. Renault’s main office is in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, a suburb of Paris. Nissan operates out of Yokohama, Japan, and Mitsubishi has its primary location in the Minato ward of Tokyo.
Dacia, an entry-level brand
Alpine, a performance automaker
Datsun, a maker of affordable models in emerging markets
Lada, an affordable brand based in Russia
Renault-Samsung in South Korea
Venucia in China
Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata founded a trading company in Mumbai (then Bombay), India, in 1868. The firm pursued a variety of interests, including textiles and operating a luxury hotel. It entered the iron and steel business in 1907. Tata Motors emerged in 1945.
It acquired Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008.
Tata Motors has headquarters in Mumbai.
Tata Group controls:
Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Company
The Toyoda Automatic Loom Works’ automotive division entered the vehicle market with the G1 pickup in 1935. The firm spun off this branch of the company to form the Toyota Motor Company in 1937. The automaker’s first product was the GA truck, an updated version of the G1.
Toyota has its headquarters in Toyota City, Japan.
Toyota Group controls:
Hino for commercial vehicles
Daihatsu specializes in small cars
Volkswagen has its roots in Nazi-era Germany’s desire to have a “people’s car” to mobilize the population. The factory was only able to build a few of them before the outbreak of World War II, and the plant switched production to military vehicles.
Following the war, production of the iconic Beetle really kicked off, and eventually surpassed 21 million.
Volkswagen has its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The firm controls:
MAN, a heavy-duty truck company
Scania, another heavy-duty truck firm
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
Ducati, motorcycle brand